Confessions of an Imperfect Mom
I’ve been writing about our autism experiences for awhile now and I am so grateful for the positive feedback and responses thus far. I have certainly learned a lot over my 19 years of raising my son and I hope that what I share helps you too! I have had this nagging suspicion that though my posts have been helpful, they have left out an important aspect of raising a special needs child…. the human element. I am writing about experiences from my 20/20 hindsight view which allows me to see where I went wrong and how to fix it, at least some of the time, and I can write about it from my current calm state of mind rather than the more common frantic state of mind that would have been my reality in that moment.
I think a parents worst pain comes from losing their children to the “darkness.” For some, this darkness might be drugs, unfavorable friends, or even suicide. For others it could be illness, anger or in my case autism. The darkness is that uncontrollable element that seems to take your most precious gift, your child, to a place that is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to return from. This fear is only heightened when as a parent, you feel that somehow through your own inabilities, you contribute to this loss. You feel woefully inadequate!!
It’s difficult for me to talk about this aspect of my experiences. I have lived through those times when my biggest fear was that I was doing it all so wrong. My son was angry and not the typical “I can’t have the toy that I want” anger. I am talking about that anger that leads one to believe there is no way out and the only way to deal is simply to disappear. He wanted to disappear into the anger and the autism. I knew that on some level, I was contributing to this anger because I just didn’t know what to do! I didn’t know how to help him feel loved but also not allow him to hurt others. I didn’t know how to teach him to reach out but also not allow him to take advantage of others. I was surrounded by voices who continually told me he was a bad kid and that I wasn’t hard enough. I tried to break through his shell but I just didn’t speak his language.
I am convinced that it was by the grace of God that we made it through those days without losing him. I didn’t have the ability on my own to take away his frustrations. I did work hard…. really hard!! I can say that I gave it everything I had, as imperfectly as it was, and I guess in some small way that is my victory in that moment. But I didn’t know for a long time if what I had to give was enough. In fact, I was pretty convinced that it was not. It was heart-wrenching to watch him struggle so severely and to feel so inadequate!!
My point in all of this is that as parents, we don’t have a lesson manual that tells us how to raise our children. I think that we try to do it right, but try as we may, we still sometimes get it wrong. We have moments that we are weak, lose our patience, or just simply don’t know what to do. In those raw moments, we have a choice to make… Will we give in to our own darkness or will we keep fighting the good fight? Sometimes, I think that the only answer available is simply to keep going putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t give up! I believe in the power of prayer. I know that God can help us make up the difference in what we cannot do for ourselves. I have seen it and have felt it! We have to just keep going so that the way can be opened up for us to move forward.
To all those parents out there who are fighting the good fight for something so important as your children and their happiness….. Keep going! You can do it!! God is on your side!!!
THIS IS ME CHEERING YOU ON!!!!